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Seniors 'strongly urged' to stay home for next 4 weeks to protect themselves against COVID-19: AIC

Seniors 'strongly urged' to stay home for next 4 weeks to protect themselves against COVID-19: AIC

An elderly woman sitting on a bench in Singapore. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Seniors aged 60 and above, as well as those living with them, have been "strongly urged" to stay at home to reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19 amid a spike in cases.

This is especially so if they are unvaccinated, said the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) on Thursday (Sep 30).

Singapore has reported more than 1,000 new local cases on most days in the second half of September, setting new records for the number of daily infections.

Seniors made up more than a quarter of local cases in the past two weeks, said AIC.

Along with the rise in infections, COVID-19 fatalities have also increased.

As of Wednesday, there have been 38 deaths from COVID-19 in September alone - the highest number of fatalities in a month. All but one of them were seniors above the ago of 60, according to data compiled by CNA.

"Seniors are at a higher risk of developing serious health complications if they are infected with COVID-19 and should take added precautions to protect themselves," said AIC.

It added that since May, 257 unvaccinated seniors have been severely affected by COVID-19 and were in intensive care, needed oxygen supplementation or died.

AIC's latest advice comes after the agency on Sep 15 asked seniors to minimise social interactions for two weeks.

ONLY ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES

AIC advised seniors to only go out for essential activities, and minimise group activities and social gatherings over the next four weeks.

Seniors should also avoid crowded areas, minimise mask-off activities such as eating at hawker centres and take away their food instead, said the agency.

While outside, they should wear a surgical-grade mask properly at all times and maintain good hygiene practices such as frequent hand-washing, said AIC.

The agency also urged seniors to visit hospitals only if necessary, in order to minimise their exposure to other infections.

"If infected with COVID-19, with mild or no symptoms, they need not rush to hospital but can self-isolate at home for their own well-being," said AIC.

VACCINATIONS AND BOOSTER SHOTS

AIC also advised seniors who have not been vaccinated to get their shots, and those who have been offered booster jabs to take these up.

"Those who have not been vaccinated should do so soonest possible as the risk of an unvaccinated person getting severely ill is almost seven times higher," said the agency.

As for booster shots, which started this month, seniors will benefit from the added protection that mitigates against waning immunity and helps reduce the likelihood of severe illness if infected, said AIC.

"This will position them well for transition to endemic COVID-19," said the agency.

AIC said it was continuing to provide support to help seniors get their vaccinations through its outreach arm, the Silver Generation Office.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its developments

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Source: CNA/dv

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